Storm Franklin: Tornados, flooding and evacuations as third named storm hits Britain

21 February 2022, 06:39 | Updated: 21 February 2022, 08:12

Flooding has hit parts of the UK as another storm arrives
Flooding has hit parts of the UK as another storm arrives. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Homes were set to be evacuated and more than 100 flood warnings have been issued as Storm Franklin batters the UK.

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Commuters have been urged to avoid making journeys “if possible” as gale-force winds and rain struck, with the country continues still recovering from the last storm, Eunice.

TransPennine Express (TPE) is strongly urged people to "avoid travel if possible", as did Great Western Railway and South Western Railway.

Scroll down for a list of train companies affected by the storms.

Parts of Yorkshire and Manchester have been among the worst hit places by flooding, with firefighters having to rescue people at a caravan site in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, and there were fears for rising water levels in Sheffield.

The River Don burst its banks in the Sprotbrough area of Doncaster on Sunday night, with police urging people to stay away from the fast-flowing water.

In south Manchester, more than 400 homes were due to be evacuated amid a pair of rare severe flood warnings for the Didsbury and Northenden along the River Mersey, which suggested a danger to life.

The River Severn was also threatening to flood, with homes seeing water approach in Ironbridge, Shropshire.

More than 150 flood warnings have been issued.

National Rail warned customers of “major disruption” across most of Britain as the Met Office posted an amber warning for Northern Ireland - due to expire at 7am on Monday - and a yellow wind warning for much of the rest of the UK, which is set to last until 1pm.

National Rail said: "Please check before you travel if you plan to use train services today or on Monday.

"The poor weather conditions may cause flooding, and any trees already weakened by Storm Eunice may fall down.

"Where conditions worsen, speed restrictions could be put in place to ensure you can travel safely."

National Rail said these train companies were affected at 6am:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • c2c
  • Caledonian Sleeper
  • Chiltern Railways
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Railway
  • Great Northern
  • Great Western Railway
  • Greater Anglia
  • Heathrow Express
  • London Northwestern Railway
  • LNER
  • Merseyrail
  • Northern
  • ScotRail
  • Southeastern
  • Southern
  • South Western Railway
  • Stansted Express
  • TfL Rail
  • Thameslink
  • TransPennine Express
  • Transport for Wales
  • West Midlands Railway

It comes after Storm Eunice caused damage in excess of £300m on Friday and what providers now believe was the biggest national power outage on record. It makes Franklin the third named storm in a week.

The Met Office has also issued yellow warnings for wind which could cause further power cuts, transport delays and damage to properties.

The warnings cover Wales, most of England, part of south-west Scotland and the rest of Northern Ireland from midday on Sunday until 1pm on Monday.

Read more: New wind warnings issued amid concerns Storm Eunice clear-up could be hampered

Read more: Storm Eunice: 'Very lucky' no one hurt as huge 400-year-old oak destroys part of home

A yellow warning for rain, meaning "there is a chance that homes and businesses could be flooded", was also in place for Cumbria, Lancashire and West Yorkshire until 6pm on Sunday.

Flood alerts and warnings were issued in Yorkshire and the North East as heavy rain moved across the Pennines on Sunday afternoon, the Environment Agency said.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said its Knaresborough crews had rescued a number of people from properties in the area.

A tweet showed two crew members carrying a resident to safety, while another showed firefighters rescuing a dog from rising flood waters.

Police also warned people in Doncaster to stay away from dangerous "fast flowing" water in Sprotbrough after the River Don burst its banks amid stormy weather on Sunday night.

South Yorkshire Police said in a tweet: "We ask people to remain away from the area of Sprotbrough Falls and Sprotbrough Lock in Doncaster, after the River Don burst its banks in this location earlier this evening.

"Many of the footpaths in this area are presently underwater.

"The water is fast flowing and poses a risk to people attempting to wade through it."

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng tweeted that 55,800 customers remained without power on Sunday evening.

He said: "In total, 1.35 million customers have been reconnected.

"UK Power Networks (SE + E England) is receiving mutual aid from other network operators across the UK to bolster their restoration efforts."

The Energy Networks Association said it believes the UK may have experienced a record outage over a 24-hour period on Friday.

Electricity provider Western Power Distribution (WPD) confirmed the outage was the most widespread ever recorded for the south west of England.

The company said: "Since it first hit, Storm Eunice has officially caused the highest number of power cuts in a 24 hour period our South West region has ever experienced.

"Our engineers are continuing to work relentlessly to restore supplies to our customers despite the awful conditions."

At the height of the storm, the roof of the O2 Arena in London was damaged - causing rapper Dave's upcoming concerts to be postponed - and the spire of St Thomas Church in Wells, Somerset, crashed to the ground.

The O2 has said it expects the scheduled UB40 gig to go ahead as planned on Friday.

Saturday evening was relatively calm, after northern England faced blizzard-like weather through the day and people on the south coast braced gale-force winds.

Read more: Two 'danger to life' warnings and people ordered to stay home: Why is Storm Eunice so bad?

Read more: Brits warned not to leave home as worst storm in 30 years batters UK with 100mph winds

But forecasters have warned Sunday could see gales of up to 70mph in some parts of England, which is the same speed recorded at Heathrow Airport on Friday when thousands watched planes struggling to land on YouTube channel Big Jet TV.

Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst urged Britons to brace for more windy weather.

Speaking on Saturday, he added: "We will see a slight easing in the wind over the evening time tonight, but it's not long before they pick up again tomorrow to lead to another windy day across the UK.

"This will have an impact on the clearing up process over the course of the day."

The Association of British Insurers indicated that the clean-up could cost more than £300 million.

A spokesman said: "It is too early to estimate the likely insured cost of Storm Eunice, when insurers will be focusing on assessing damage and helping their customers recover.

"No two storms are the same. The last significant storms to hit the UK - Ciara and Dennis - led to insurers paying out over £360 million."

Read more: First pictures inside O2 arena show scale of damage after Storm Eunice rips off roof

Watch: O2 stores evacuated: Caller's brother sent home from work just 200 yards from damaged roof

National Rail has warned there is still "major disruption" to train services "across most of Great Britain".

At least four people were killed amid the severe conditions in the UK and Ireland on Friday, and a 79-year-old British man died in Ypres, Belgium, after his boat was blown into a waterway amid high winds, according to local reports.